People who live in unincorporated areas of the county and want to grow their state-allowed six marijuana plants for personal use, will have to do so indoors.
That’s one of the latest restrictions that the San Luis Obispo County supervisors added to a draft cannabis ordinance that’s been under discussion for months.
The board continued crafting regulations on Tuesday but did not hear public comment or vote to adopt the ordinance. Instead, the hearing will continue in a full-day meeting scheduled for Nov. 27. The draft ordinance will be available for review on the county website Nov. 22. Discussion about possible cannabis taxation had been scheduled to begin this month but has been postponed until January.
The draft ordinance would ban dispensaries, allow mobile delivery from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and limit who can apply for a land-use permit to grow commercial cannabis.
Only the 141 cultivators who registered with the county last year as co-ops or collectives will be eligible to apply for a permit in the first year of the ordinance. They would be restricted by limitations on where and how marijuana plants can be grown. For example, no outdoor cultivation would be allowed in rural residential zones, and those who want to grow cannabis in agricultural zones must have at least a 10-acre site.
Hundreds of marijuana farmers will be out of compliance with the county code once the ordinance is adopted, and subject to an enforcement effort that involves a code enforcement hearing.
“This is a go-slow approach,” said Chairman John Peschong, who voted with Supervisors Lynn Compton and Debbie Arnold on most of the regulations.
The board majority has expressed an interest in revisiting permitting next year. Arnold has expressed a desire to minimize conflict between cultivators and neighbors. Similarly, Compton said her biggest concern is to protect neighbors from the smell.
Supervisors Adam Hill and Bruce Gibson have argued against many of the regulations. Gibson, for example, said the ordinance addresses nuisance odors, and “to force everybody indoors is unduly restrictive.”
“It bothers neighbors,” Compton responded. “You have plants that get so big you have to take a chainsaw to it.”
Supervisor Adam Hill said the board majority is moving so slow in its adoption of cannabis, it’s actually moving backwards.
He recommended that those supportive of cannabis industry send comments to the county so their voices are heard, as supervisors have received complaints from people who don’t like the industry, saying it is undesirable or is going to affect their quality of life.
“It’s an interesting cultural war that is being conducted without much discussion,” he said.